Quantcast Top 5 plugins, filters for VHS restoration in 2017? - digitalFAQ Forum
05-15-2017, 06:37 PM
Dirk the Daring Dirk the Daring is offline
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In 2017 there are quite a bit of options out there to choose from so...

What are your top 5 must have plugins/filters when performing VHS restoration?

Are you using them in VirtualDub only, AviSynth, a combination of the two, or something else?

I’m interested in narrowing down all the available options out there to the most preferred which achieve the best results. That would save me some time researching every single option available.

Yes, I know this is subjective based on the source material, but if I didn't let you see the source material and you could only choose 5 and nothing else, what would those 5 be?

I'll give you some help though, all the source material is on VHS...
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05-25-2017, 04:41 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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VHS is old.
Most filters have existed for years, though new ones appear, mostly mods and upgrades to past filters. Mostly Avisynth.
Most plugins are for VirtualDub, not really NLEs.

Not much has changed from 2007 to 2017.
Especially not 2012 to 2017.

And it's not really "top filters/plugins", but "5 most common errors (and how to fix)" that you should ask.
And indeed, good title, made this a note on my article to-do list.


1. chroma offset ("color bleeding")
2. chroma noise (misty red/blue yuck on image)
3. tracking noise
4. magnetic dropout noise
5. overscan (head switching) noise


1. Avisynth, ChromaShift
2. VirtualDub, Camcorder Color Denoise (CCD) 1.6/1.7
3. Avisynth, complex temporal filter chain, can discuss at later time
4. Avisynth, same filter chain as above
5. Almost anything (Avisynth, VirtualDub, Premiere, etc), masking (covering bad parts in black), sometime using filter wrongly named crop


Unstable/shaky camera footage best fixed in commercial software Mercalli. By comparison, VirtualDub deshake and Avisynth stab() seems quaint. Mild corrections using my stabmod() in Avisynth.


The one error uncorrectable error is still horizontal jitter, aka that wibbly-wibbly problem you often see in terrible Youtube captures. It had to be fixed in the analog domain with a TBC. There is no ability to do TBC in software, and may never happen. The closest I ever saw was 5 years ago, but had too many caveats that made it only works under "proof on concept" testing applications. See also user jmac.

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05-25-2017, 08:39 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by Dirk the Daring View Post
if I didn't let you see the source material and you could only choose 5 and nothing else
If you limited yourself in this way with any video, problematic or not, you'd find yourself up the proverbial creek. Either that, or at best you'd end up with half-baked results.

Levels, clipping, and gamma problems alone would require at least 3 or 4 popular filters alone, and none of them address noise or other glitches. Those filters would be ColorYUV, Levels, SmoothAdjust, and Tweak -- not to mention that ColorYUV itself provides 19 options, and SmoothAdjust provides multiple filters of its own with countless options more. What would you do about common problems like excessive interlace combing, macroblocks, aliasing, individual oversaturated colors, dropouts, frame hopping, or object shimmer, all ubiquitous defects that need specific filters?

I commonly work with VHS caps that require more than a dozen popular Avisynth and Virtualdub filters to clean up. Color correction? I can advise at least 4 essentials in VirtualDub and have used more. QTGMC, often used for a variety of fixes, requires a dozen or so support files that are essential stand-alone filters in their own right (dfttest, FFT3D, RGtools, NNEDI3, and MVtools to mention some). If your video is telecined and requires progressive input for cleanup, you can forget about deinterlace and keep TIVTC in your plugins. There are many more "top" filters, most of them for specific problems. These filters would include awarpsharp, CheckMate, chubbyrain2, DeBlock_QED, the dither tools package, GradFun3, DeHalo_Alpha, LimitedSharpenFaster, RemapFrames, vInverse, Stab variants, ChromaShift, FixVHSoversharp, ReplaceFramesMC, Santiag, RemoveSpots variants, RemoveDirt variants, TemporalSoften, and industrial-strength stalwarts like TemporalDegrain, MCTemporalDenoise, and MDegrain variants, and VirtualDub's CamcorderColorDenoise, SmartSmoother, and TemporalSmoother, just to mention some plugins that I use again and again.

5 filters wouldn't come close to making a useful toolkit for typical VHS problems. Browse through some of the restoration projects here and in other forums, and you'll see what I mean. But you're right when you say that the better way to get a handle on how many problems to solve is to post samples and see what has to be done with them. Any two samples would pose common problems, yet each of the two would also pose unique defects that require different fixes and techniques. One might need very little work, the other might need more.

Short answer:
There is no one-size-fits-all toolkit.

Last edited by sanlyn; 05-25-2017 at 08:54 AM.
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